Posts

October 08, 2014

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3:15 PM | Warts & All!
Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire, burn; and cauldron, bubble. Shakespeare’s witches open Macbeth by tossing a toad into their cauldron, along with parts of snakes, newts, bats and other dejected, unfortunate creatures. Why such a bad rap? After all, people LOVE frogs – they turn into princes and are considered quite lucky by some cultures. But toads? Feared, reviled. What’s the big difference? Toads (like the American toad, Bufo americanus, pictured above) tend to live […]
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3:07 PM | NIH: H7N9 Vaccine Candidate Works Much Better With An Adjuvant
  # 9162   Although it is difficult to get anyone to care about anything other than Ebola right now, the truth is there are a number of other emerging viruses that also have a high fatality rate, and that carry with them a reasonable degree of pandemic potential.     H5N1 – which emerged in Vietnam in 2003 and subsequently spread across much of Asia and into the Middle East – is perhaps the best known avian flu virus, but H7N9 – which […]
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12:30 PM | VOA News: 2nd UN Staffer Infected With Ebola In Liberia
    # 9162   Although much can be done to substantially reduce the risks of working with Ebola patients, or inside the Ebola `hot zone’ in Western Africa, we’ve ample evidence that neither pursuits are entirely risk free.   Details remain scant, but multiple media outlets are reporting that  UNMIL – the United Nations Mission In Liberia – has announced their second staffer to be infected with the Ebola virus during this […]
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12:15 PM | Taiwan’s next health minister urged to make even street food safe
Whoever becomes Taiwan’s next health minister should devote himself or herself to promoting food safety in the country so that even the snacks sold at streetside stands are safe, said former health chief Yang Chih-liang after his successor Chiu Wen-ta … Continue reading →
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11:50 AM | ECDC: Risk Of Ebola Transmission From Blood Products & Other Substances Of Human Origin In the EU
    # 9161   While the Ebola epidemic is currently only spreading in three West African countries, there are concerns that over time the virus could migrate to other African nations - or to other regions of the world - necessitating the thinking about possible public health risks both as they stand now, and how they might evolve down the road. Yesterday the ECDC published a technical report on managing the potential risks to the blood supply, and to organ and cell […]
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11:05 AM | WHO: Statement On The Risks Of Ebola `Spreading’ In Europe
Credit CDC PHIL   # 9160   Sometimes, it is just easier to wait for the clarification that you know will be coming, than to blog a hyperbolic news story when it first appears.    On Tuesday headlines screamed - More cases of Ebola spreading in Europe 'unavoidable', WHO says - after comments by Zsuzsanna Jakab, Regional Director of the European Region of the World Health Organization, were carried by the wire services.   Although Director Jakab added […]
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9:21 AM | Letter: Bacteria in dairy products in baggage of incoming travelers, Brazil
To the Editor: International air travel can lead to the rapid global dissemination of infectious agents. Unlike products and byproducts of animal origin imported between countries under agreements that legally establish sanitary standards, products introduced into a country illegally or … Continue reading →
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9:19 AM | Wet-Lab Validated Real-Time PCR Assays for Rat Genome
Bio-Rad Laboratories has launched its new PrimePCR™ Rat Genome Assays for quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) (available in U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and E.U. only). This expands Bio-Rad’s line of wet-lab validated assays that includes human and mouse genome assays. Assay validation is one of the most important steps in qPCR but is sometimes […]
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9:10 AM | Hockey, thermometers and disbelief
News has been a little slow because we spent the long weekend with 120 (ice) hockey players in Coff’s Harbour, a primarily fishing town about five hours south of Brisbane, and home to the big banana. And a decent-sized rink, … Continue reading →
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6:46 AM | Where’s the micro? Whole Foods to introduce produce ratings program
It’s just too easy to make fun of the adjective-embracing data devoid Whole Foods Market, Inc. The company is going to introduce a produce ratings program on Oct. 15, said John Mackey, co-chief executive officer of the Austin, Texas-based retailer. … Continue reading →
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6:13 AM | ‘Never happened in 27 years’ Shigella strikes again: Four sickened at second California restaurant
Zov’s restaurant in Irvine was forced to shut down briefly Wednesday in the wake of a foodborne illness probe tied to four sick customers, health department officials said Thursday. The sickened guests ate at Zov’s on Portola on three different … Continue reading →
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6:02 AM | California’s Knott’s Berry Farm restaurant reopens after treatment for cockroaches
California institution, Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant, reopened Thursday night after its permit was restored following treatment for a cockroach infestation, theme park officials said. Jason Soyster, a spokesman for Knott’s Berry Farm, referred to the infestation as an “isolated … Continue reading →
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2:23 AM | I have the grey hairs to prove it
Macquarie University has apparently noticed the grey hairs I'm starting to get, they announced last week that I am one of six new Distinguished Professors. On top of that, on the same day, the Macquarie University Research Excellence Awards were presented, and Karl Hassan and I won the Research Excellence Prize in Science and Engineering. They made 90 second videos summaries for each of the research projects nominated for an award. Here's the video for our project on identification of a new […]
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12:52 AM | 130 people sickened from Salmonella in beef in Denmark; no one told for 40 days
Danish supermarket chain Dansk Supermarked has suspended all trade with domestic supplier Skare Meat Packers (SMP) following the discovery that salmonella-infected ground beef was delivered by SMP to the retailer’s Netto discount grocery stores in June. Last month, it was … Continue reading →
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12:18 AM | Yeast 2.0 on the radio
I was interviewed on 2SER this morning on the topic of yeast 2.0, biofuels and beer.Transcript and podcast can be found here.Louise Brown came along for moral support and snapped this action shot of the back of my head:

October 07, 2014

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5:31 PM | Sandman & Lanard: Ebola Risk Communications
      # 9159   When it comes to risk communications, Dr. Peter Sandman & Dr. Jody Lanard are both highly sought out experts, and over the years I’ve highlighted their work a number of times (you’ll find a small sampling here, here, here & here) . During a crisis, they not only know what needs to be said, they aren’t afraid to say it.   Their website is an invaluable repository of risk management advice, that quite frankly, should […]
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5:24 PM | Students Discover Goes to Washington
Members of the Students Discover team recently visited the Nation’s Capital to present at the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement (NCSCE) Washington Symposium. This conference highlighted university, college, and community programs that are incorporating STEM education into real world applications. We were invited to speak about Students Discover and shared our experiences passionately. As part of this conference, we also met with Representative David Price of North […]
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5:00 PM | Acute flaccid paralysis of unknown etiology in California
In February 2014 I wrote about children in California who developed a poliomyelitis-like paralysis, also called acute flaccid paralysis or AFP. However, the cause of this paralysis was not known. The CDC has released its study of these cases and concludes “The etiology of AFP with anterior myelitis in the cases described in this report remains undetermined.” […]
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4:17 PM | Saudi Arabia Reports 2 New MERS Cases
  # 9158   The steady trickle of MERS reports continues to come out of Saudi Arabia – with now 15 cases reported since the 12th of September – 8 of which are from Taif – located just about an hour’s car ride from the Holy City of Mecca.  Today KSA announces two new cases; 1 from Taif, and 1 from Hafoof.       The Hafoof case reportedly had contact with camels. 
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2:38 PM | New Zealand sees spike in Yersinia pseudotuberculosis; bagged carrots and lettuce investigated
Over 100 illnesses of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis have been seen by New Zealand health authorities in the past couple of weeks and investigators are trying to find the common source. According to the New Zealand Herald, packaged produce is at the top … Continue reading →
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12:52 PM | NACCHO Hospital Preparedness Checklist For Ebola Webinar
  # 9157   Given the speed at which the Ebola story is moving, it isn’t terribly surprising that a Webinar sponsored on September 29th by NACCHO - on preparing for the possibility of seeing an imported Ebola case in the United States -  has now been overtaken by actual events.     Still, that only makes the infection control message delivered by this webinar all the more important.   The Webinar was limited to only 1,000 viewers, but has […]
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12:13 PM | BacterioFiles 185 - Bacteroid Builds Beta-lactam Buffer
This episode: Antibiotic-degrading probiotics protect mouse gut microbes from hostile pathogen takeover after antibiotic treatment! Download Episode (7.8 MB, 8.5 minutes)Show notes:News item/Journal Paper Other interesting stories: Insect bacterial symbionts can pass to offspring through sperm (paper) Studying human history thru microbes in fossilized feces Fungi can clean up composting-resistant pollutants in soil Microbes could make useful product from industrial wastewater Bacterial […]
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11:41 AM | I see in your NJ future, vermin in your fortune cookies
The ubiquitous fortune cookie, a staple of any Chinese takeout, could be a cesspool of dirt, disease and disgustingness. But its New Jersey. According to Daily Finance, when inspectors from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration visited the fortune cookie … Continue reading →
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11:15 AM | WHO Informal Consultation On How Science Can Inform Our Response To The Ebola Outbreak
Credit CDC PHIL   # 9156   Although the oft repeated meme `We know how to control Ebola’  is still being uttered, the truth is we have entered uncharted territory with this epidemic. Tactics that always worked well in Ebola outbreaks of the past – which struck in smaller populations that were remote, rural, and not terribly mobile -  have come up short with the virus now spreading in both rural and urban centers across three West African nations.   […]
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10:58 AM | US consumers are misled about organic safety
I normally stay away from the organic nonsense because it’s about lifestyle, not safety. But John Block of The Des Moines Register writes that every day millions of shoppers are paying out as much as 50 or 100 percent more … Continue reading →
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10:34 AM | Spain: MOH Statement On Ebola Infected Nurse & News Roundup
  # 9155   In a follow up to yesterday’s report (see Nurse `Infected With Ebola’ In Madrid, Spain) we are seeing more details emerge, including demands from the EU for clarification on how this infection could have occurred (see AFP article EU demands explanation from Spain on Ebola case) in a modern hospital that knew they were receiving and treating an Ebola case.   ABC News is reporting that Spain Places Husband of Ebola Nurse in Quarantine – a […]
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12:28 AM | WHO on Ebola virus transmission
The World Health Organization has issued a situation assessment entitled ‘What we know about transmission of the Ebola virus among humans‘. WHO is rather later entering the transmission discussion which began on 12 September 2014 with the suggestion that Ebola virus transmission could go airborne. But WHO is a big organization and moves slowly; nevertheless […]
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12:06 AM | Effect of high hydrostatic pressure on Salmonella inoculated into creamy peanut butter with modified vomposition
Peanut butter has been associated with several large foodborne salmonellosis outbreaks. This research investigates the potential of high hydrostatic pressure processing (HPP) for inactivation of Salmonella in peanut butter of modified composition, both by modifying its water activity as well … Continue reading →
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12:00 AM | Effect of acid adaptation and acid shock on thermal tolerance and survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and O111 in apple juice
Gradual exposure to moderate acidic environments may enhance the thermal tolerance and survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in acid and acidified foods. Limited studies comparing methodologies to induce this phenomenon have been performed. The effects of strain and physiological state … Continue reading →

October 06, 2014

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9:17 PM | Dimples Are A Genetic Flaw
They might look  cute on the right person, but did you know that dimples are a genetic flaw? How is it that something that looks so nice and enticing can be considered a genetic flaw? Well, genes don’t particularly care about looks. What matters…The post Dimples Are A Genetic Flaw appeared first on Just Science.
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